The Florida judge who appointed a "special master" to review records seized by the FBI in an unprecedented raid of former President Trump's home has dismissed the case, following an adverse ruling from a higher court.
Judge Aileen Cannon formally dismissed the special master on Monday in a brief order, essentially ending Trump's legal challenge to the politically charged probe into whether he unlawfully retained government records.
For months, Cannon has been derided in the press as a Trump sycophant for rejecting the Biden Justice Department's "just trust us" mantra. Her order had effectively blocked the department from using the records it seized in its aggressive probe, including 100 marked "classified."
In her original September order, Cannon said she would not readily concede the government's sweeping assertion that Trump had absolutely no privileges over the records, while noting the "unprecedented" nature of the case.
"The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the Government’s conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion,” Cannon wrote.
The DOJ fought for months to reverse Cannon's order, claiming that transparency would slow the investigation down and somehow harm "national security," even as the DOJ flagrantly leaked secrets from its probe to the media.
Bit by bit, Cannon's order was undone. Biden's government scored a win when the 11th Circuit Appeals Court blocked the special master from seeing the classified records, a ruling the Supreme Court later upheld.
The DOJ continued to press for the special master to be dismissed altogether, which a panel of the 11th Circuit later granted.
The appeals court was apparently unmoved by Cannon's arguments about the need to maintain “at least the appearance of fairness and integrity" in a politically charged probe of a former president by his past, and likely future, electoral rival.
Instead, the appeals court decided that Cannon did not have jurisdiction to rule in the case, while arguing that she was somehow giving Trump privileged treatment.
“It is indeed extraordinary for a warrant to be executed at the home of a former president — but not in a way that affects our legal analysis or otherwise gives the judiciary license to interfere in an ongoing investigation,” the panel found.
Cannon, a Trump appointee, moved to dismiss the case after Trump's lawyers did not appeal the higher court's ruling.
The Biden administration has appointed a Special Counsel to continue the investigation of Trump, who is now a 2024 presidential candidate.
Trump has blasted the probe as an obvious political "witch hunt."